Senate Republicans are using the filibuster too much, their former majority leader Sen. Bill Frist (Tenn.) said on Friday.
Frist, who served as the Senate Republican leader from 2003 to 2007, also said that the filibuster has been overused by both parties in recent political history.
"Yeah, I think so," Frist said during an appearance on MSNBC when asked if Republicans had used the filibuster too much in the past year.
"But in the same token, in 2003-2002, we had 10 consecutive filibustered judges. Some to the right, but some pretty much just in the middle," Frist added.
As majority leader, Frist led an effort to change filibuster rules for federal judgeship nominations, though that effort was stopped short when a group of Senate centrists banded together to keep the existing filibuster rules in place.
The former Tennessee senator penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Friday decried the prospects of Democrats using the budget reconciliation process to sidestep filibuster rules on healthcare reform.
Democrats have now expressed frustration with how Republicans have used the filibuster against key pieces of legislation, including healthcare reform. Some Senate Democrats have proposed changing the filibuster rules, though other leaders have been resistant.
"The use of the filibuster, compared to 10 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago — it's being used way too much," Frist said. "I think it's symbolic of the partisanship, the lack of comity here."
And despite having pushed to change the filibuster a few years ago, Frist seemed skeptical it could be altered now.
"There are certain times by our Constitution, the Founding Fathers basically set up the Senate to be that cooling saucer, and to basically respect the rights of the minority itself," he explained. "So the idea of doing away with the filibuster is just not going to happen. I guarantee you it's not going to happen."